CONSUMER confidence in food and what we produce is paramount. Last week’s revelations concerning the discovery of horse meat in burgers has shaken the reputation of the Irish food sector, albeit briefly we hope.
The inherent danger, of course, is in the marring of the whole beef industry, as a result. This should not happen.
Irish farmers are compliant and adhere to the highest standards of traceability, and yet they are potentially the biggest losers when something like this occurs.
This is grossly unfair, and answers need to be provided as to what occurred in this instance.
Food labels must mean precisely what they say. It simply can’t be any other way.
Factories, manufacturers and supermarkets must also be included in the strict inspection and traceability regime that already apply to farmers.
That’s not, however, to infer that the highest standards are not been met by all these parties.
In the vast majority of cases, it is.
However, as we saw last week, it takes only one slip, somewhere along the line, and the next thing is an entire industry may end up having to defend itself.
Our agri-food sector is one of leading lights of our economy.
It should be safeguarded at all costs.